That’s why I wrote the following entries down. By hand. And now that things are up and working again, I’m going to re-type them below.
Thursday May 3rd, 2012
At the end of English class today, Robbie asked me to hang back a bit because there was something he wanted to ask me. I was terrified. I thought that maybe he knew something about what happened to Monica, that maybe he was going to point a finger at me and tell me he knew it was me -- that somehow, in my sleep, I’d gone and beat and raped her. Or that maybe Monica had been talking to him and told him this herself.
I actually tried to sneak out of the class, tried to just mix into the flow of students out of the room. But he reached right out and grabbed my arm. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back through the crowd. He’d done it so quickly, so forcefully, that I’d thought for sure that he was going to lay blame on me for what happened to Monica.
He held my arm, preventing me from getting away while smiling and making quick small talk with the remaining students filtering out of the class. When the last student left, he let go of my arm and closed the door.
“What’s going on, Peter?” he asked, the concern showing on his face as he leaned on a desk at the front of the classroom. “You’ve been acting really strange ever since you returned to school and Monica is back.”
As I rubbed my arm where he’d grabbed and held me, I didn’t know how to respond. “W-what do you mean?”
His eyes softened even more. He pursed his lips and looked me in the eye. “You’re feeling guilty about Monica, aren’t you?”
I didn’t answer, but turned my head down and looked at the floor.
“C’mon, Peter,” he said. “You can talk to me, man. I think I know what you’re going through.”
My eyes started to tear up, I tried to hold back the sobs, but my voice repeatedly broke when I responded. “How could you . . . possibly . . . know . . . what I’m going through?”
"Because I've been there too." A strange look came over his face just then and he took a deep breath. “When I was a teenager, my girlfriend was raped at a house party. We went in together, the two of us, and then, as we each starting hanging around with different groups of friends, I ended up heading off in a car with a few buddies to pick up some munchies. We did it all the time, go to a party together, split up, do our own thing, then get back together.
“Only this time, this time something happened while I was gone. These guys from another high school showed up. Nobody knew who they were, they just showed up, about ten of them, crashed the party. A few of them picked a couple of fights with a few of the guys, and three of them ended up pushing their way into the bathroom where Sandy -- that was her name -- where Sandy was. She’d had a bit too much to drink and was in there being sick to her stomach.”
At that point, Robbie paced to the far side of the classroom and looked out the window facing away from me. “The three of them had her way with her. They, they pushed her to the floor, then two of them held her down while the third guy ripped off her clothes and raped her. Then they switched, and another guy took over. Then the third.
“It didn’t matter that she’d been sick to her stomach WHILE THEY WERE RAPING HER . . . it didn’t matter that she was retching and throwing up and almost choking on her vomit. Two of them held her down so she was unable to resist while the third one raped her.
“They left her lying on the bathroom floor and that’s where the next person going in to use the washroom found her.
“By the time the person going in to use the washroom had figured out what had happened, the entire gang of guys from that other school, even the ones who had started a few different fights, had left. Sandy spent a long time sitting on the bathroom floor, naked and bleeding and covered in her own vomit. Any time anybody tried to comfort her, to help her get cleaned up and dressed, she pushed them off, not saying anything.
“When I got back to the party the whole thing was long over and a few of her closer friends had been able to get her dressed, despite her protests and struggle, and were walking her to a car to bring her home.
“The only thing that anybody can remember her saying was when she looked up and spotted me getting out of my buddy Henry’s car. She stood straight up, pointed a finger in my direction and said: ‘Thanks for leaving me alone.’ Then she got into the car.
“Those were the last words she spoke to me. They might have been the last words she ever spoke to anybody. Her friends had brought her home and that night she’d swallowed an entire bottle of her mother’s tranquilizers. She never woke up from it.”
Okay, so I stopped writing the note at that point. I just couldn’t continue. I was exhausted and my hand hurt from writing the note. Retyping this whole thing feels a little silly, but I'm glad that I'm doing it. I've stopped often while keying it in to just read and re-read it again, and realize the effect the whole conversation had on me.
I didn’t write in my journal again until the next night, and in it I tried to continue from where I’d left off.
Friday May 4th, 2012
Robbie stood at the window for a long time before he turned back and faced me. When he did turn I could see the moisture welling in his eyes. At that point, an announcement came on the PA system, calling him to the office.
“I’ve got to go, Peter.” He said. “But I’ve told you my story. So, yes, I think I can understand the guilt that you feel. And I really do think that this is something you should talk about. If not to me, then to someone else, anyone else.”
He walked towards the door and just before he stepped out he turned and said. “But I really do think you need to talk this out. And I’d really like to help you through this, if I can.”
I ended up going to see Robbie at the end of the school day. He just stood there, looking at me, without saying a single thing. And I broke down, started to sob and sob, and told him about the dream I'd had about Monica, about the guilt that I felt about it, and about the fact that I realized that while I'd been intrigued with Monica and interested in starting a relationship with her, that all I'd been really feeling had been a kind of intense infatuation, a kind of misplaced lust, and that fact made me feel all the more guilty about what happened to her.
I'd made her out to be an object of lust and sex and desire, and then someone had raped her. The guilt had continued to grow and eat away inside of me.
Robbie explained that rape wasn't about sex -- and I had a sudden memory of that topic coming up in our class discussion from a few weeks ago, but for some reason it didn't really stick. He explained that rape was about power, about dominance, about control over another person.
He talked about my feeling of guilt and my holding Monica in my mind's eye as an object of desire as being typical of teenage infatuation, but that it had nothing to do with what actually happened to Monica. My feelings of lust for her did not lead to her getting raped, and I had nothing to feel guilty about.
We kept talking around and around the issue, and I have to admit that the release I felt to be able to communicate the things I've been feeling for this past while -- to communicate them openly and verbally, was overwhelmingly powerful.
I started sobbing uncontrollable at that point, not just out of the guilty and grief, but out of the simple emotion of relief.
That's when Robbie stepped forward and put his arms around me and just held me while I cried.
And that was the point where my second hand-written journal entry ended. It feels strange re-reading it and typing it in. I know that my buddy Harley would say something to the effect that it was a real homo scene with Robbie giving me a hug. But I needed that hug more than anything, and honestly, truly, it felt good just to have someone, anyone be willing to offer me that gesture of compassion.
It's funny. Robbie and I had another after class chat yesterday, but neither one of us has brought up the shared stories -- the ones of his guilt over what happened to his girlfriend or my guilt of what happened to Monica.
Instead, we just talked about books. It was great. It was glorious. He loaned me another book. Back to the first author he'd introduced me to. Sean Costello. This one was called "Finders Keepers" and was about what happens to a group of people who come across a lottery ticket worth 10 million dollars.
Robbie said that I'd like the thriller aspect of the story, and that the dark humour employed in the tale would be good to get my mind off of everything. I haven't read it yet, but do plan on starting it tomorrow.
Right now, I should really get to bed.